Understanding Teen Killer's Mind: Your Questions Answered

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Something in his manner prompted his birth mother to look at him more closely, though. Perhaps it was being his mother, knowing his father, or feeling that unexpected and unwanted unease herself.

Billy asked: What behaviors are seen in young adoptive children to denote that instances like this will occur in teen and adulthood?

Dr. Welner answered: We still do not know whether what made Collier homicidal speaks to the adoption experience or what caused him to be placed up for adoption in the first place.

A psychopath has a demonstrated risk for future violence. Some teenagers with evidence for psychopathy mature beyond their manipulative, brazen, dishonest, cold, and antisocial personalities. Others do not. Redirecting adolescents onto the right path is an important mandate for adolescent psychology.

Those teenagers who have callus and unemotional personalities have more ominous prognosis. As parents and elders, we owe it to society to focus toward minimizing risk.

Shea asked: After watching the segment on Collier it seems like a big problem he was having was controlling his frustrations when he encounters instability in his life. At some point it seems like any person must have the self-awareness to be able to realize they need to build real relationships in order to have stability. He was tricking himself into thinking that his relationship with Candy was a "real" relationship, but the simple fact that he didn't tell her about the biggest thing that had happened in his life essentially meant the relationship was built on a lie. My question is, for a guy like Collier, who's entire mind-set is based on having stability and support in his life, why do they feel the need to lie about their life in the first place? I realize that it isn't easy that to tell someone you committed a heinous crime when you were young, but if you don't, and you have frustrations like Collier, then your entire life will either become a broken record of relationships or a similar reaction, like that of his murder, is bound to happen again.

Dr. Welner answered: I think you are approaching this logically, perhaps too logically. We know how uncomfortable Collier is with his past. As he buries it, however, he prefers not to deal with it in any way, in name, where he lives, the history he takes on. It may be the only quality of attachment he is capable of, having already lost at least three families. I cannot help but contemplate those who meet pen pals and romantic partners while they are locked up for murder, as Jovan did with Belinda. Beyond the psychology of those relationships and what brings each side together, consider that the relationship begins from an orientation that the significant other knows an acceptable amount about the past. Some think they want to know, but do they? Do we know that a partner can deal with the notion that he was "abused," but would not be able to live with his having committed a more predatory and malevolent triple homicide? Love may mean acceptance, but there is still that pressure to see the unrealistic best in whom one loves.

We also know how comfortable he is with lying as a means of navigating his world. That approach brings short term escape. But lying as a way of navigating one's environment and relationships begets other lies to cover the earlier lies. Hoaxters, psychopaths and others for whom lying is fundamental collapse spectacularly when at long last, the house of cards can no longer support itself.

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